It is indisputable that barring exceptional circumstances, jailing children is wrong. Child welfare experts agree that detention, even for short periods of time, has profoundly adverse impacts on children’s long-term health and development. But the Trump administration is still fighting to hold migrant children in detention—indefinitely.
What we do and say about sexual harassment, abuse and assault matters. That’s why I’m thrilled to see many in the legal profession expanding the conversation beyond emergency relief to provide comprehensive legal services for survivors.
“Women are equal, but equality doesn’t mean forcing women into the same system as men. What it means is re-conceptualizing criminal justice itself from the ground up through the lens of women’s experience.”
It’s time for the justice system to hold rapists accountable—and do better by survivors.
35 years ago, Sister Helen Prejean walked down the hall at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola with her unsteady hand on the quivering shoulder of Patrick Sonnier. His death by electrocution that night would have slid barely noticed, then and now—except Prejean was so outraged by what she saw that she wrote it down.
“Prosecutors’ decisions—which crimes to prioritize, what charges to bring, whether to offer plea bargains—are essentially unreviewable. The argument is that elections hold District Attorneys accountable, but that’s a political solution to a legal question.”
The federal government shutdown reminded people of just how fragile a supposedly steady job can be. But while many government workers knew their pay would eventually resume, income insecurity is a daily struggle for millions of other people living in the U.S.—one that can last a lifetime.
If the crumbling status of Black America is a telltale sign of the dangers and threats that eventually befall all Americans, incarcerated Black women are the canary in the coal mine—and not just for incarcerated women, but for women across the country.
The “Die Jim Crow EP Book” features the voices of former and current inmates speaking out against mass incarceration. B.L. Shirelle is one of those voices—and through the Die Jim Crow collective, she’s opening up about the racialized and gendered impacts of the prison-industrial complex.
Individual accountability matters, but sexual violence is also a community and cultural issue. To end rape culture, we need to seek out new models for justice that go beyond the state.